First world problem: Teacher or educator?
Posted September 12, 2012on:
I follow @FiWoProblems (First World Problems) on Twitter because there are funny and often trivial 140-character-or-less truths about the modern world.
Recently I experienced my own first world problem and it reminded me of why I chose to be an educator instead of a teacher.
A standing fan in my dining room went into its death throes and I bought a replacement. Rather than throw the old one away, I thought I would be responsible and recycle it.
I offered it to a karang guni (“rag and bone”) man, but he rejected it and asked if I had a computer or television to recycle instead!
Karang guni men used to collect things like newspapers. A few still do. But there is a shift in behaviour that has followed the shift in values.
Only high-value items seem to be worth the time and effort of the collectors. The value of recycling has become less important than making a profit!
There already is a scary parallel shift in values in schooling. I am talking about the shift from the values of education to hot-housing kids to stay ahead and teaching to the test (and only the test).
I stopped being a classroom teacher at the end of 1998 so that I could become an educator. I am not saying that a teacher must leave a schooling system to be an educator. I am saying that you might get more time and space to learn to be an educator if you do.
I tried being as educator while I was a teacher by not just focusing on the curricular race, examinations, and grades. I used to expand the horizons of students by bringing them out on field trips, enriching their learning by using technology, and spending time talking about life.
After I left, a former student told me that a teacher who took over told my class that I had taught them the wrong things. If educating my students about the right things is teaching them the wrong things, then my conscience is clear.
Some folks do not care if there is a distinction between a teacher and educator. Some do not have the luxury of thinking this way.
I think that it is important to have a first world problem of deciding whether or not you are a teacher or an educator. There are deeper value systems under those labels that manifest themselves when you are teaching or educating.
On the lighter side of things, here are some other first world problems you might relate to…